Saxophonists Mars Williams and Ken Vandermark met in Chicago during the early 1990s and were part of a new wave of activity taking place in the city during that decade, one that involved the work of a diverse number of projects and musicians based around significant venues for adventurous music at the time, Hothouse and the Empty Bottle. As part of that activity, which included legendary improvised music groups the NRG Ensemble and Vandermark Five, Mars and Ken formed the duo Cinghiale, both composing for the group and building off the rapport that they had been developing through their various collaborations at that time.
In February of 2019 they reconvened the project, composing a new book of material together and presenting it in Chicago and at the Instigation Festival in New Orleans. The music, solidly grounded in foundations built over decades also projected into future possibilities, based on projects and developments in their individual work. The excitement over this potential quickly led to a decision to put Cinghiale on the road later in the year, working on the new material, composing some additional pieces, and recording the music at the end of that tour.
Steve Marquette is part of a contemporary evolution taking place on the Chicago music scene, one that is again cross-pollinating between categories and genres, combining improvisation with new and experimental music, underground rock, and noise. He belongs to the trio, The Few, which has been an instrumental part of the resurgence of individuality among younger players in the city. Steve’s solo music builds off of that trio’s activity and collaborations with many other artists, particularly musicians based in New Orleans.
The time feels right to bring these generations of creative musicians together to present new work. The energy and commitment toward the tradition of searching for personal languages- so integral to Chicago’s music history going back to the early 20th century, continuing toward the landmark work of the AACM, and going further forward from there- puts their attitude toward the artistic search completely in common and on target in these times.